Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Two Infinite Things

Einstein devoted his career to understanding space.

This guy devotes his time to explaining stupidity.

Excerpt:

THE POWER OF STUPIDITY

It is not difficult to understand how social, political and institutional power enhances the damaging potential of a stupid person. But one still has to explain and understand what essentially it is that makes a stupid person dangerous to other people-in other words what constitutes the power of stupidity.

Essentially stupid people are dangerous and damaging because reasonable people find it difficult to imagine and understand unreasonable behavior. An intelligent person may understand the logic of a bandit. The bandit's actions follow a pattern of rationality:nasty rationality, if you like, but still rationality. The bandit wants a plus on his account. Since he is not intelligent enough to devise ways of obtaining the plus as well as providing you with a plus, he will produce his plus by causing a minus to appear on your account. All this is bad, but it is rational and if you are rational you can predict it. You can foresee a bandit's actions, his nasty maneuvers and ugly aspirations and often can build up your defenses.

With a stupid person all this is absolutely impossible as explained by the Third Basic Law. A stupid creature will harass you for no reason, for no advantage, without any plan or scheme and at the most improbable times and places. You have no rational way of telling if and when and how and why the stupid creature attacks. When confronted with a stupid individual you are completely at his mercy.

Because the stupid person's actions do not conform to the rules of rationality, it follows that:

  1. one is generally caught by surprise by the attack;
  2. even when one becomes aware of the attack, one cannot organize a rational defense, because the attack itself lacks any rational structure.

The fact that the activity and movements of a stupid creature are absolutely erratic and irrational not only makes defense problematic but it also makes any counter-attack extremely difficult-like trying to shoot at an object which is capable of the most improbable unimaginable movements. This is what both Dickens and Schiller had in mind when the former stated that "with stupidity and sound digestion man may front much" and the latter wrote that "against stupidity the very Gods fight in vain."

1 comment:

Ribozyme said...

Excellent! Finally I find someone who explains coherently and concisely why dealing with stupid people is such a stomach churning ordeal. I have always said that "people shouldn't be punished for being stupid... it's being stupid and acting on it that's really bad".
I just came to check your blog after seeing your posts at Skeptico's. I'm not in the least disappointed after finding this jewel. Congratulations!